With renewable energy the in thing nowadays, the state government is exploring the possibility of setting up a 1,000 MW solar power project. The government has initiated talks with International Finance Corporation (IFC), a World Bank arm, seeking its support for the project.
“The project is still in the conceptual stage. We have initiated talks with the IFC to seek its support for the project. We will go ahead with it depending on their response,” said DJ Pandian, principal secretary, energy & petrochemicals department.
At the current costs of Rs8 to 9 crore per MW, the 1,000 MW project could cost anywhere between Rs8,000 to 9,000 crore.
The scale of the project can be gauged from the fact that total solar power generation capacity in the country presently stands at around 1,000 MW, including more than 600 MW in Gujarat alone.
The Centre is eyeing solar power generation capacity of 20,000 MW by 2022 under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission. While solar power is the cleanest form of energy, it is also the most expensive, costing four to five times the conventional power. This is solar energy’s biggest drawback, but the state government believes that the price can be brought down to the level of conventional energy.
“We have already managed to bring down cost of solar power from Rs15 per unit to less than Rs10 per unit. With better technologies, there is no reason why prices should not fall further. Our idea is to bring down solar power price at par with the grid, i.e. around Rs3 per unit,” Pandian said further.
The IFC, which is an arm of the World Bank, has said that it is keen to support such a project.
“We have funded quite a few projects in Gujarat, including solar power projects. We are keen to extend the partnership with Gujarat, and are in talks with the government to see how IFC can help in the 1,000 MW solar power project,” Anita George, regional industry director, Asia, infrastructure and natural resources, IFC, told DNA. The IFC official said that the funding agency could tie up with developers to provide funding to them.
“We could also be involved in development of infrastructure and other necessary framework for such a project,” she added.